Dear Ms. Cards Etiquette,
I’m trying to expand my business, and have been considering starting a greeting card mailing list for the company. Do you think it’s worth the effort for a small (one-person) company, and do you have any advice for a first time greeting card mailing?
Ambitious in Arizona
You’re a businessman after my own heart, Ambitious! Of course I think greeting card campaigns are a fantastic way of marketing your business, whether you’re a one-person office or a large company. Keep in mind that a greeting card campaign can be done badly, to the point of actually driving business away. However, it is so easy to do them well, I don’t see how so many businesses manage to screw them up.
For beginners (or those trying to run damage control on Clueless Inc.’s card campaign), here’s Ms. Cards Etiquette’s 5 basic guidelines to a good greeting card mailing program:
- Be personal! Don’t make the mistake of thinking modern communications have made greeting cards obsolete. Emails, faxes and the like are impersonal. Greeting cards are a great way to return a personal touch to your business. Hand-write notes on your cards then hand-sign them. Then hand address the envelopes. Preferably yourself. This takes a little extra time, but it is well worth the effort!
- Be considerate! If you’re sending holiday cards, either take the time to find out what faith each of your recipients observe so you can send specifically appropriate greetings, or do stick with the general “Happy Holidays” or “Seasons Greetings” cards. Send them during the first week of December, so you’re almost sure to catch the correct period for everyone’s observances.
- Be precise! For heaven’s sake, don’t misspell someone’s name. Don’t send a card to someone’s home and forget to include their spouse’s name on the envelope. Don’t send a card to an associate who’s since moved to a different company. Double check your mailing list before mailing anything! I’m unmarried, and I assure you that when mail arrives addressed to Mr. Cards Etiquette, it goes straight in the trash (right after I make note of who sent it)!
- Be creative! Everyone sends holiday cards. Not everyone sends birthday cards to their employees or business associates. Not everyone sends New Years cards, which is a great time to get noticed after the flood of Christmas season cards. Not everyone would think to follow up a particularly big sale with a thank you card to the client. Remember: Look at ways to send cards that will stand out from the crowd.
- Be careful! If you know someone would appreciate a humorous card, go ahead and send it. Otherwise, keep in mind that one person’s humor is another person’s offense. Unless you’re on familiar terms with your recipients, always err on the side of caution and good taste when choosing your cards.
There you go Ambitious, not so difficult after all, is it? Now, go out there and do me proud. One less company committing grievous greeting card faux pas can only be a good thing.
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